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Hands-on: Asus G1 and G2 gaming laptops

Asus enters the gaming laptop market with the hugely striking G1 and G2. Should Alienware and Dell be quaking in their boots?

Asus isn't the first name that springs to mind when you think of gaming laptops, but it's drawn battle lines with the likes of Alienware with its new G1 and G2 gaming rigs.

We've just taken receipt of an Asus G2 and first impression are positive. The metal lid gives it a look of quality and is vaguely reminiscent of some laptops in the Dell XPS range. Open it up and you'll either drool or barf -- Asus has dumped a liberal amount of red all over the inside, and it's a complete assault on the senses.

There's a red surround engulfing the 1.3-megapixel webcam above the screen, a row of red rectangles running down either side of the keyboard, a glowing red G2 logo between the mouse buttons, and red highlighting on the W, A, S and D keys, which gamers use to move 3D characters around. Asus also bundles a customised Logitech MX-518 gaming mouse, which is handy.

Most significantly, there are red light panels on either side of the screen, which apparently increase in intensity when more polygons are being pushed around the screen. Unfortunately they didn't work on our early test sample -- something about the graphics card getting too hot.

What did work was a funky OLED display just above the keyboard, which can relay important information such as the Asus logo, the time, instant messages, Skype caller IDs and emails. It's not quite Sideshow, but we like it anyway.

Inside, Asus has crammed a 2GHz Intel T7200 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1700 graphics card. This card pales into insignificance when compared to the super high-end twin-card Alienware machines, but it'll run everything you throw at it.

One small gripe -- the 17-inch widescreen display, while looking utterly superb, only runs at a resolution of 1,440x900 pixels, which is a bit on the low side. But you get a natty backpack to carry the laptop between LAN parties. We'll review the G2 in the very near future, and hopefully its green-themed Nvidia-running, 15.4-inch G1 brother in the near future. -RR